With the top three scorers from last year’s San Diego State team gone, young Aztecs and transfers will need to step up. Sophomore forward Che Evans is certainly a worthy candidate.
In Evans’ Freshman campaign, he only saw the floor in 10 of the Aztecs’ 28 games. In those ten games, Evans averaged just over four minutes per appearance. Judging his numbers based on 41 minutes spread across ten games is unfair.
Evans is a Baltimore native who attended Dulaney High School through his junior year but graduated from Neumann-Goretti High School in Philadelphia. Depending on where you looked, sites listed Evans as a four or three-star recruit for the class of 2020. All sites ranked Evans as a top-50 small forward, with 247Sports.com ranking him as the 38th ranked small forward.
Molding Evans into one of the top small forward recruits in the country started when he was young. Dwayne Wise, Evans’ godfather, watched and helped Evans from birth to becoming an Aztec.
“Training was done by a series of people including myself, his father, and his uncle,” Wise said. “I made sure his academics were in place, made sure he knew how to speak to the media, what to improve on as working as a player, and his overall character.”
Wise speaks very highly on Evans’ character as one of the biggest reasons that Evans is where he is today.
“He’s very coachable and also a great student in the classroom,” Wise said. “I think those are the intangibles that will take him a long way.”
— TeamDurant (@Dwayne_Wise) July 22, 2021
One of the first coaches to show interest in and recruit Evans was Chris Acker. He first showed interest in Evans when Acker coached at Boise State, but once Acker got hired by San Diego State, he continued to recruit Evans.
“Coach Acker had recruited him since ninth grade,” Wise said. “He was recruited by pretty much everyone on the west coast, including UCLA. Coach Acker notified us when he took the job at SDSU.”
Following his junior season, Evans suffered a devastating injury when he fractured his shin. Although this cost Evans development and his senior season, one man stood by his side: Chris Acker.
According to Wise, Evans is 100 percent healthy and ready to go for his sophomore campaign. A healthy and Strong Evans can prove Acker right for sticking by him and help propel San Diego State to their third straight Mountain West title and back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances.
“He’s just not hesitating as much anymore,” Acker said. “He’s more aggressive with his approach to catching and shooting the basketball. He’s got a little bit more confidence in his body, and that’s what is going to get him out there and perform and compete for minutes.”
The six-foot-five forward is the ideal athlete for San Diego State to play at the “three” so that he matches up size-wise with other forwards but also displays the athleticism to be the quicker guards.
Che Evans taking his piece of history! pic.twitter.com/G9eQ9m34Q4
— Paul Garrison (@PadreDeCuatro) March 15, 2021
“He’s got good size, and the fact that he’s able to shoot the ball at that size spaces the floor for us quite a bit,” Acker said. “His role this season will be making open threes when his number is called.”
Evans is also beloved by his teammates. Knowing what he went through and seeing how hard he works at practice to help the Aztecs, they all want to see him succeed.
“Che is my guy,” Adam Seiko said. “He’s a knockdown shooter, so when he’s open, it is more than likely going to go in. He was one of the top recruited guys coming out of high school, but he had some trouble keeping his defensive responsibilities when he first got here. He’s grown so much on that end, and I can’t wait to see what he does.”
The Aztecs will need Che Evans to insert his name into the San Diego State storybooks to keep the strong culture of basketball on the mesa.